Every July since 1959, the northern Wisconsin town of Hayward becomes the mecca for competitive lumberjacks and jills as the site of the Lumberjack World Championships. In the main event of the Championships, the log rolling competition, contestants attempt to outlast one another while balancing and scampering atop a spinning, floating log.
Traditionally, rolling logs were 500-pound cedar logs that could only be rolled using spiked shoes. These massive pieces of timber, however, could be problematic due to their uncontrollable spinning, footwear requirement, and transportation issues.
For these (log)istical reasons, log rollers developed a new hollow, synthetic log made of high-density polyethylene. These “key logs” are way lighter (only 65 pounds before being filled with water), easier to learn, and don’t require any gripped or spiked footwear. Additionally, key logs now come with yellow attachable “trainers” that slow and stabilize them in the water, allowing for beginners to catch their balance and learn even faster.
Luckily for #ActiveBadgers, these new key logs are not just for Paul Bunyan & Company. We have a key log available at the Nat this fall! On Tuesdays and Thursdays from 5-7pm, you and your friends can try your hands (and feet) at a classic Wisconsin sport. No experience is necessary, and our staff is ready and happy to show newcomers the ropes.
Getting the hang of log rolling can be challenging, but the ‘aha’ feeling of combining balance and footwork to stay up is both rewarding and fun.
“It takes a few tries, but it’s not quite as hard as it looks once you figure out the fundamentals,” Assistant Director of Aquatics Aaron Kroth said. “I have never seen someone mad or upset when they fall, it is always laughing and smiling while rolling.”
In addition to being a blast, log rolling is uniquely beneficial as a training exercise, specifically with targeting of cardio, core and leg strength, balance, and coordination. Also, for those looking for a low-impact activity, log rolling is perfect, as the buoyancy of the water prevents excessive stress on joints.
As a more fringe sport, log rolling may seem an odd selection to some. Kroth, however, insists that the log is here thanks to popular demand; “We got started by learning more about the sport and talking with students about their interest. After we had support, we purchased a log and implemented it into our programming.”
Let’s see you rollin’ at Sunday Funday on September 2 from 1-3pm at the Near West Fields and at the Nat all fall. Capitalize on this great chance to learn something new, have fun and PLAY HARD. GET FIT. LIVE WELL.